Pop-ups are an essential part of making a useful map because they help your audience understand what they’re seeing. That’s why it’s important to make sure your pop-ups are well configured. A good pop-up will help answer these questions:
- What am I looking at?
- What’s important about this?
- How does it relate to the rest of the map?
When you add a layer from Excel using ArcGIS Maps for Office, pop-ups are enabled by default. However, they still need a little love from you, the map-maker, to make your data shine!
Let’s go through an example. Using an Excel table containing open source data on earthquakes, I created this map in ArcGIS Maps for Office:
With this map, you can explore earthquakes of magnitude 7 and higher in North America. Each symbol on the map represents an earthquake, and the points are styled by size so that earthquakes with higher magnitude have larger symbols.
To view a pop-up, I click a symbol on the map. The default pop-up appears, showing all the data attributes.
This pop-up is cluttered and confusing. It’s not easy to see what the symbol represents or why it’s important.
There are two things that will make this pop-up more meaningful: reduce the amount of information it contains and choose information that’s more specific and relevant. I can make these changes directly in the pop-up.
First, I click the Pop-up settings button at the bottom of the pop-up.
The settings window appears. It contains a drop-down menu for a header and a list of attributes from the Excel table that can be included in the pop-up.
The fields under the Column heading are pulled from the Excel sheet and can’t be edited in the pop-up settings. However, the fields under Alias are editable, allowing me to change how my attributes are labeled in the pop-up.
The header is the pop-up’s title. It should highlight a distinguishing factor of that feature or an important piece of information that isn’t clear anywhere else. In this case, because the styling of my map already illustrates the magnitude of the earthquakes, I don’t want the magnitude as my header. Instead, I choose the place attribute to help my audience immediately identify the exact location or region of the earthquake.
Here’s what the pop-up looks like with a header added:
Columns and aliases
The header helps add clarity, but there’s still too much irrelevant information in the table below it. I can refine those selections and choose what to include in the table.
Because I have such a large number of attributes and I only want to include a few, I start by clicking the Column heading check box to uncheck all the attributes at once.
I can now choose specific attributes to include in the pop-up. I check the Date, Depth, and Magnitude boxes to include them in the table. These are the most useful and important details that a user may want to know about an earthquake. I already provided layer and map titles that make it clear that the symbols on the map represent earthquakes, so I won’t include that information again in the pop-up.
I click OK to save the changes and view the updated pop-up.
There’s just one last thing to take care of now. I notice that Depth displays a number with no unit of measurement. This row is incomplete. I know that the organization that provided my data measures earthquake depth in kilometers. I need to change the alias of this column to include more information.
Back in the Pop-up settings window, I find the line for Depth. I hover over the alias until the Edit button appears.
To edit the alias, I type (km) in the text box and click Done.
I click OK to save my work and exit the pop-up settings.
The final result
Now let’s look at the default pop-up compared to the configured pop-up:
The default pop-up on the left is cluttered and provides unclear information. The pop-up I configured on the right shows focused details that explain what’s displayed on the map and what’s important about it. The pop-up effectively highlights the defining features of the earthquake: where it happened, when it happened, and how strong it was.
And don’t forget the impact of styling. The differently sized symbols on the map help me understand context and make comparisons at first glance. Then, I can easily continue my analysis using the information in the pop-up.
For example, I see from the clusters of symbols that Alaska and the area west of Mexico City both experience a lot of strong earthquakes. I then use pop-ups to discover that Alaska has experienced an earthquake more recently than Mexico and that Alaska’s strongest earthquake was 1.1 higher in magnitude than Mexico’s strongest.
Explore the completed map and see what else you can learn using pop-ups. Then, download the ArcGIS Maps for Office add-in and discover how location intelligence can maximize the value of your data.
Magnitude 7+ Earthquakes in North America